Your Opinion: Flaws in Medicare reform
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Medicare reform proposed by Congressman Ryan, R-Wisconsin, is heartily endorsed by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, and Missouri’s congressional members, Vicky Hartzler and Blaine Luetkemeyer. Two fundamental flaws exist: one substantive, another indicating their perception of our moral fortitude.
Whether premium-assistance or voucher, substantively their proposal provides a fixed sum for retirees to purchase health insurance on the “individual” market ignoring the essential truth that the proposal only adds profit to the equation. The amount of the “assistance” is irrelevant — empirically, health insurance companies exist to make money.
Currently, Medicare exists only to provide a public service. The assistance will only be corporate seed money. The non-partisan CBO reports that individually seniors would spend approximately $6,600 more under the Hartzler-Luetkemeyer-Ryan Proposal.. Simply a 61-year-old’s choices at the extremes are to increase the deductible from $250 annually to $1,000 with a $96 monthly premium rocketing to over $1,450. At worst, the deductible balloons to $5,000 and monthly premium jumps from $96 to $890. Add ten years of inflation. This is a betrayal of future generation
The second failure is more subtle. On May 25 Jay Ambrose asserted that Democrats misrepresented the plan asserting no affect for any current retiree or anyone over 55 as if this made the idea palatable. Shame on you, Mr. Ambrose. I completely understand current recipients and those 55 and over would still receive full Medicare benefits.
We repeatedly applaud the “Greatest Generation,” maturing in the most severe depression in our history, surviving through eight years of ups and downs and fighting WWII. They trusted that another Democratic president’s first loyalties were not to the banks, the corporate behemoths and monetary masters. Though Social Security was opposed as a socialist threat, President Roosevelt developed our social contract with our aged. This, too, Hartzler and Republicans would again attempt to privatize as in 2005. Their defense again is that because this pain will only be inflicted upon future generations, we in this third generation of Medicare and fifth of Social Security should take the money and run.
Buying this scam proves us unworthy of the achievements and sacrifices our parents and grandparents made to protect us in our maturity as part of the American social contract. We are better.
Reasonable reform is clearly necessary. This Hartzler-Luetkemeyer-Ryan alternative should embarrass us by assuming we are unwilling to accept obligations which our elders courageously bore.